DEFINITION of 'Volunteer Protection Act Of 1997'

A federal law authorized by President Clinton that limits the risk incurred by individuals, nonprofit organizations and government entities engaged in volunteer service. The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 was passed by the government to encourage volunteer service, recognizing that liability risk was reducing the number of people who were willing to participate in volunteer work.

BREAKING DOWN 'Volunteer Protection Act Of 1997'

The act prevents individuals, nonprofit organizations and government entities engaged in volunteer service from being held liable for harm caused by acts or omissions if the volunteer acted within his or her scope of responsibilities, was properly qualified and did not intend to cause harm. The act also says that the volunteer will not have to pay any punitive damages unless they willfully caused harm. Volunteer organizations can gain additional protection by purchasing general liability insurance.

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